FIBA Africa President Anibal Manave has warned that the recent ban on international basketball by the Federal Government of Nigeria will, in the long run, cause even more harm than good for the country.
The continent’s number one basketball administrator made this assertion in Kigali, Rwanda while speaking with aips.com
Mr Manave noted that the players will be the worst hit by the controversial decision but promised that FIBA Africa will step into the situation to seek a possible solution to the logjam.
On May 12, 2022, the Ministry of Youth and Sports announced that President Muhammadu Buhari approved a two-year ban from international basketball activities following the unending crisis plauging the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF.
However, the FIBA Africa president warned that even more years would be required to correct the anomalies the two-year ban would have caused.
“This is not going to help Nigeria. It could be three or four years,” revealed Mr Manave.
“For example, the men are playing the World Cup Qualifiers. If they are banned, they wont play the qualifiers for 2023.
“It means if you are not part of 2023 World Cup, you won’t be part of the Olympics in 2024, and to be part of the Afrobasket in 2025, it will be complicated,” Mr Manave explained.
“Is this what we want for our players?
“No, this is not what we want. We understand that the parties involved are right but we have to protect the players and also we want a good national federation because Nigeria is key.
“A country of over 200 million people with a lot of talents, and we will leave this country alone? No way.
“We will try to bring all these people together to help them out and we believe we will have some news to protect the players.”
The FIBA Africa president revealed that moves are already being made to quell the crisis as it would be bad not to have a country like Nigeria at the World Cup.
“We are very concerned about what is happening in Nigeria because the country is one of the powerhouses in basketball,” he said.
“Nigeria is in the Women’s World Cup and Men’s World Cup Qualifiers by merit and not by any favour, so we need to protect all of these.
“We as FIBA are talking to the stakeholders to find the best way to avoid this two years ban.”
Mr Manave said he understands the need to strike a balance between the government and the federation and all logical means will be deployed.
“To promote the game the federation is one entity and government is another entity. We know that to promote and develop the game we must work together, otherwise, it is the players that will be affected not the federation and not the government.”
Meanwhile, a statement was released by the Nigeria Women’s National team, D’Tigress on Friday, May 20, protesting the two-year ban from international activities.
Among other teams, the ladies believe the ban will deprive them of all future competitions, accomplishments and goals to elevate, inspire, and make Nigeria proud.
The statement read: “We, as the Women’s National Team of Nigeria, would like to speak on the government’s recently placed two-year ban on all Nigerian Basketball International competitions.
“The D’Tigress team would like to state that we do not agree with this ban. This ban is taking away all our future competitions, accomplishments, and goals to elevate, inspire, and make Nigeria proud!
“We would like to be given the opportunity to play for our country that we passionately love to represent in this upcoming @FIBAWWC competition.
“We have worked very hard to be 3x Afrobasket Champions, Olympians and now we are blessed with another opportunity to continue that representation for Nigeria.
“We want Nigerian Basketball to continue to grow and succeed on every level; from the local leagues, grassroots, and even on the international stage!
“We believe that all levels of Nigerian basketball can excel with the proper attention, togetherness, and organisation. Our team is a testament to how successful Nigerian Basketball can be and how we have been an inspiration to all Nigerian athletes across the globe.
“We wish to express our gratitude to all the coaches, medical staff, organisers, and fans. This ban not only penalises us but you all as well. Your commitment and loyalty to our team will never go unnoticed.
“Our goal is to play and represent Nigeria proudly! We, as the Nigerian Women’s National Team, plead for the reversal of the International Basketball ban for Nigeria. We hope to be heard! Thank you.”
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